Don’t live in the past, learn from it! Vital Advice from Jamie Clarke and Other Top Performers for 2017

“A lion doesn’t concern himself with the opinion of a sheep”.

Jamie Clarke shared this mantra he uses during a no holds barred interview with us.

It was his reply to haters on twitter who criticised his move away from GAA.

Here is the main performance learning point from this outlook:

A lot of mental energy can be wasted focussing on the negative opinions others offer to us. When it’s constructive, take it as an opportunity to grow. When it’s not as Jamie thought was the case when people criticised his move away from GAA it’s better not to pay too much attention to it.

When you notice yourself worrying about a piece of criticism or an incident that made you feel small you should flip the script. Consciously try to remember a time when someone paid you a complement or made you feel like a million dollars.

Jamie knows the benefits of this performance advice,

“When Justin McNulty was involved in the Armagh set-up he would tell me ‘you’re the man Jamie!’ I responded well to this.”

What coach (apart from the opposition’s) wouldn’t want this sharp shooter going out on the field full of confidence?

Jamie v Monaghan
Photo by William Cherry/Presseye

Dave McSharry:

“Don’t give up on everything attempting to become a professional rugby player. There’s huge competition and it’s a contact sport so nothing is guaranteed when it comes to staying injury free”.

Since our interview, Dave has had to retire from professional rugby at the age of 26. No doubt this was a bitter pill to swallow. He is now moving to Australia with an option of getting into some coaching work. His ability to buy in to a squad effort and encourage others would make him an ideal candidate for such a position.

His teamwork mentality is shown by two key quotes Dave gave to us:

Photo by Morgan Treacy

“We (the injured players) also contribute to the overall squad by doing a bit of video analysis. We present to the group and give one or two words of wisdom to specific players that are currently playing the matches.”


“I always reacted better to someone saying keep the head up after I made a mistake so I always try to emulate this behaviour when my team mates do the same”.

A way to make sure you avoid selfish behaviour is to consistently check in with yourself before acting within the team environment. A good question to ask yourself is,

“Am I doing this for myself or the team?”

If you retaliate to a late tackle and get sent off, was it for the team? Equally in business or academia, have you ever been tempted not to take your team’s stance during the Q and A part of a presentation? Asking this question would help to avoid regrettable actions in these scenarios.

No wonder Pat Lam ensured Dave was given due credit for his contribution to Connacht winning the Pro 12 last year.

Dave had this to say on twitter – After a few months travel great to get back to Galway to see the boys again and finally collect this medal capping off an incredible five years with Connacht rugby.

Eimear McGeown:

BBC Proms in the Park at Titanic Slipways
Photo by William Cherry/Presseye

Performing in front of one person can be daunting. How has Eimear perfected performing as a solo artist in front of thousands? It is largely due to investing in the process and adhering to the adage of eating the elephant one bite at a time.

Here’s her top performance advice,

“I use visualisation while I’m practicing. I would picture myself in a concert situation with a crowd in front of me. I find this helps. As well as this I play to small intimate groups of friends at least 2-3 times before a performance”.

Take a listen while reading the rest of the performance tips.

Even if you want to take it back a step you could begin by practicing in front of the mirror, thinking about how you would deliver the performance if nobody else was watching. Generally this would be enough to win over your audience.

As you can see Eimear certainly has it mastered!

Ger Brennan:

Dublin v Mayo - GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Final
Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

It is important we use social media properly and responsibly.

Are we posting simply for likes or for a purpose? How much time are we allowing it to suck out of our day versus the real tasks we want to get done?

Here is an important performance caveat from Ger on the use of social media,

“Happiness from social media is derived from how many likes we receive as opposed to having real interactions. If your happiness is solely derived from external factors you don’t control, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment”.

Victorious Dublin team visit Temple Street Children's University Hospital
Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile

Conor Mortimer:

Most below par performance comes from a lack of practice or simply not knowing your subject matter well enough.

The simple solution is specificity of your preparation. Avoid the small tasks we let distract us and dedicate the required time to our priority.

2006 v Laois Nice Strike
Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile

Here’s Conor’s advice for free taking which can be applied to any field,

“I used to practice by hitting around 500 frees a week. I would start in the middle then make my way out distance and angle wise. This helped get my technique and confidence right. Once these two elements were sorted it was a case of keep doing it!”

Finger Wag v Tyrone
Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

No wonder he was top scorer in the 2006 All Ireland Championship with a dedication towards performance like that.

Sean McGarrity:


How we frame a situation has a huge impact on our potential for future success.

Sean who is a sales expert had this to say when asked about how to deal with a “failed sale” attempt,

“But there needs to be a reason why (they didn’t buy)… So I mean, what happened? And then there’s something to be learned from that. So there is no such thing as a failed sale. There is lessons in everything like that”.

Maybe the potential customer didn’t buy the product because they are not suitable for it.

On the other hand they may not have bought because it is not good enough. Thus we can learn from this and develop the product to meet this client’s needs in future.

Sean had this to say on the topic,

“If you’ve got holes in your fulfilment area you know no matter how good a marketing or a sales person that you are you’re never going to retain your customers”.

Fill the holes in your fulfilment bucket by using customer feedback to your advantage. Sean has done this and runs a successful business training the Personal Trainers of tomorrow.

Here are some satisfied customers at Sean’s Elite Fitness & Performance Academy

Dane Massey:

Dane’s performance advice is as follows,

“Always take the game in 5 minute blocks. Confidence wise if it doesn’t go well for you in the first five minutes go for the next 5 minutes. Make sure that you do everything well in the current 5 minute period”.

Staying as present as possible is vital in performing in any walk of life.

Dundalk v Finn Harps - SSE Airtricity League Premier Division
Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

This mindset helps him keep his focus on the present moment in the game and not a mistake from ten minutes before.

We should use this ploy in our every day life. It could be as simple as taking back control when you miss a bus.

Do this by deliberately carrying out your next action. It may as simple as taking a drink of water. Then you notify the necessary people you will be late and ensure you make the next meeting or deadline in the day. Don’t allow one mistake or mishap to shape the rest of your day.

Dundalk v BATE Borisov - UEFA Champions League Third Qualifying Round 2nd Leg
Photo by David Maher/Sportsfile

We hope you have enjoyed this look back on the past to improve in the future. Don’t forget to subscribe to be kept up to date of article releases in 2017.

Featured articles to come include an insight into warrior mentalities. These will be based on exclusive interviews with potentially the greatest Gaelic Footballer of all time and a record breaking Endurance Competitor.

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